Let's all sing..."O' say does that star spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" Wait a minute, back the truck up! Are we not in the "land of the free?" Certainly this is still the land of the free where any man can come and make his own way in life in the ultimate pursuit of happiness. Isn't it? Not lately. Let's look at a few recent asinine examples of how over-regulation is 'fundamentally transforming America'. Oh, you recognize that phrase do you? Keep reading and think about how different the America of today is from the City on a Hill that our Founders envisioned.
The Blaze is running the story of an 11 year old girl who saved a baby bird from being her cat's lunch. Yay! What a fine, upstanding young lady this is, right? Wrong. The baby bird happened to be a Woodpecker and 11 year old Skylar Capo's selfless actions landed her mother a hefty $535 fine under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. From The Blaze's coverage: "The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations." The mother faced both the fine and up to a year in jail. Oh the horror of having a child who does the right thing in this day and age. Thank goodness the national media picked up on this story and as they typically do when confronted with sunlight, the lame-brained, over-reaching bureaucrats suddenly found their scruples and back-tracked. The citation never should have been issued. It was a clerical error. Umm hmm. They sent out an under cover agent and a State Trooper to this little girl's home, further wasting your tax dollars and leaving wildlife and the highway unprotected because someone forgot to enter "common sense" into the computer? Not buying it. I thoroughly enjoyed and commiserate with this sampling of comments to this story from The Blaze:
"Nowhere in the list of things you cannot do does it say “save.” However, apparently if you save a migratory bird you are what… possessing it? Why didn’t they put the cat down for violating the act?" - Flagwaver
"While I‘m watching this I can’t help but wonder if the woman with the snake on her front windshield wasn’t making an illegal transfer of wildlife….. One never knows anymore…." - Tikesissy
"Just think of the life lesson this little girl has learned at such a young age. You’ll be punished for being kind, don’t tell anyone anything, be secretive and hide what you do, be afraid of law enforcement, don’t trust the government….sounds like the same lessons a lot of us adults are learning. Thank you Obama and all the rest of you gestapo agencies trying to terrorize us." - Captain Crunch
In another case of your tax dollars going down the garbage disposal like this morning's soggy Cheerios, rest assured that the poor, defenseless bikers in Coralville, IA will not be put at risk by a 4 year old girl's greedy attempt at capitalism and free market principles. That's right, she thought she was going to clean up while helping hydrate the bike riders, but the crazy-law-crusade struck again and promptly shut down the villainous tyke's pop stand. I'm left to wonder if the Coralville, IA city code enforcers have failed to do their jobs completely. What do you think the odds are that her crayon-adorned "L E M o N - A D E" sign was in violation of the municipality's signage codes? Maybe she just got away with that one. Nonetheless, the authorities pulled the plug on the preschool child's lemonade stand. It seems that her parents got lucky and weren't issued a citation or a fine. Is it me or are they just not very good parents? Shouldn't they have encouraged their daughter's entrepreneurial spirit and just bought her the permit and sprung for the full-fledged health inspection? Aye aye aye, I'm only kidding. This is just insanity. In my America adults have enough of a risk-taking streak that we can decide for ourselves if we want to drink lemonade that a little girl mixed, even if she *gasp* didn't wash her hands first. For goodness sakes she is FOUR years old! We might even buy it and pretend to drink it because we think it's cute. But by golly let us make our own decisions and get out of our lives.
The city of Oak Park is keeping its residents safe from the offensive view of criminal vegetation. Don't worry, they're just looking out for you. To hear some tell it, Julie Bass thought she was going to pull one over on the authorities when she planted a garden in wooden boxes in her front yard. Food, glorious food is what one typically plans to get from a garden of tasty vegetables. But instead, Bass was faced with a misdemeanor. The economy isn't great these days, but apparently they're rolling in the dough over in Oak Park because they have enough of the green stuff laying around that they hold no qualms about paying a prosecutor and footing the bill for a full-fledged trial to show Julie Bass and other radical law-breakers like her that they mean business. It is after all HER yard, who does she think she is deciding what she can plant in it? What a crazy free spirit she must be. Does she think she lives in America or something? Oh wait, right, it is, my bad.
Recently in my own neck of the woods, in Bowie County, TX, I faced grand jury charges. Today it was announced that the case against me has been withdrawn, but only after a full-blown waste of taxpayer dollars on a Sheriff's office investigation when the Sheriff himself was present for the alleged "disruption of a meeting." Yes, the alleged crime was "disrupting a meeting" even though as County Clerk, I was a part of the meeting. I heard distortions of truth and factual artistry being employed and I called it out. I quietly said, "you're lying." I didn't stand up, didn't yell or curse. I told the County Judge, "you're lying" and he was. Then, I sent out a public apology for what I thought might have come across as rude. Three days later, I was told by a reporter that I was facing a $2,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Oh, and if I had been found guilty of the Class B misdemeanor and it was deemed "related to official duties" it would have resulted in immediate and automatic removal from my elected office. Nice. Joe Wilson told the President of the United States, "You lie!" and it was water cooler conversation. I, as a small town County Clerk, told someone he was lying when he was and ended up facing the Grand Jury.
In recent times these crazy scenarios have played out time and time again. I've heard of mothers watching one another's children before or after school so they are able to be safe and attended to, only to be told that Big Brother would prefer the children to be on their own than in the care of an adult of the mother's choosing. After all, those moms were considered "unlicensed child care providers." No, Mr. Crazy Bureaucrat, they are called moms. It's what we do. A friend recently came to me for advice on how to handle a complaint from the city about her carport supposedly encroaching on a right away. Man, she sounds like a law-breaker doesn't she? Not really, she hired a contractor to build the very nice looking carport on HER property and he forgot to get the required permit. And it was built TWO years ago. What is the city asking, you wonder? Oh, nothing big, they just want her to have the 2 year old carport that looks like it's part of her home to be torn down. That'll learn her!
Have you forgotten about the terrorizing actions of those rascally Amish unpasturized milk smuggling outlaws? There have been numerous raids of Amish family farms. The thing America has going for her is that we have "the authorities" who are willing to sweep in and confiscate cheese-making equipment "for our own good." Ahhh, I can see Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson smiling with satisfaction at the sight of this beautiful nation bound and gagged with red-tape galore. Some of these horrible offenses listed on this page can be found at the aptly named dumblaws.com. Take this gem for instance. In Arkansas, it is a crime to honk your horn at a sandwich shop after 9 p.m. In South Carolina, it is a crime to sell a musical instrument on a Sunday. In Boulder, CO it is illegal to have a couch on your porch. Now, don't get me wrong, I think it is a crime against all things classy to have a couch on your porch, but whose porch is it anyway? You give 'em an inch and they take a mile. First it's your couch on your porch, tomorrow it's the garden in your front yard, next year it's the fact that you make cheese and milk to feed your family and earn a living (we do have starving children in this country, by the way), then they shut down your daughter's lemonade stand on your lawn, and next they criminalize saving baby animals from sudden death and mutilation.
The more of these stories I come across, the more it is clear to me that this country is like two trains at a railroad crossing...of course in Texas both of those trains would have to come to a full stop and neither could proceed until the other has passed. With that, I'm left to wonder who on earth is writing these laws? Why have we turned a blind eye to the fact that our government is too politically correct, too heavy-handed, too into regulation, but not too far gone? It only changes when we say "Enough is enough. Stop the insanity!"
When are we, as freedom loving Americans, going to stand up and say to our overbearing, far-reaching, red-tape-wielding government, "GET OUT!!!"? Bear with me as I hum to myself and write these words to one of my favorite and extremely applicable songs for you.
If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd work for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my my luck stars to be livin' here today,
'cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away.
And I'm PROUD to be an American where as least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the ones who died, who gave that right to me.
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless the USA.